Let’s get one thing straight - Henri Mouhot did not discover Angkor Wat. Yet he is widely credited with popularising the place in the imagination of westerners, partly through comments such as that above. Though several other Europeans had been there and written about it before, none managed to describe it as evocatively as Mouhot did, in both words and delightful sketches. The fact that he had already perished in the jungles of Laos before the publication of his book ‘Travels in Siam, Cambodia and Laos’ in 1864 only served to increase interest. Since then, thousands have followed in his footsteps to marvel over the beatific Buddhas in the Cambodian forest, though few have experienced such hardships as Mouhot did on his daring expeditions into largely uncharted territory.
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